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uke philly
05-23-2010, 04:05 AM
Hey people of the UU forums. I live over here on the east coast and the ukulele has yet to become popular. This means that ukulele shops are meager and non-existant. I've decided on a koaloha or kanilea or kamaka. I figure that i can find some kamaka's in NY,NY like wise of koaloha. but the "dark horse" seems to be kanilea. If anyone has any of these three and would like to give some helpful advice that would be awesome.

iDavid
05-23-2010, 04:21 AM
I have a KoAloha Concert and it is a wonderful instrument. It is very responsive, increasingly light, and very loud for its size. The wood on mine is crazy dark and striped Koa.130231302413025

I play it constantly and it plays like butter. I have owned several expensive guitars and KoAloha is easily their equal it not better.

That being said, I would like a Tenor in the future and am looking at KoAloha and Mya-Moe. I think both break the traditional mold in build and the end results are fantastic.

Lanark
05-23-2010, 04:31 AM
We've got one of each. There is no wrong answer. They're all good in their own way.

Since this nearly exact thread has popped up a few times in recent memory, I might suggest a site search as a good place to start. The info you seek is here if you dig a little.

dkcrown
05-23-2010, 05:16 AM
Not sure that I would agree that the ukulele has yet to become popular on the east coast. The uke craze is in full swing here in MA. I was at the Music Emporium two weeks ago to pick up a Moore Bettah custom tenor and Joe the owner said that they are selling a ton of ukes.

With regards to your original question, KoAloha, KoAloha, KoAloha. I have four of them and one Kanilea. I general they are louder and more resonant than Kanileas. Kanileas do have a nicer finish, if you go with the UV.

lkdumas
05-23-2010, 05:26 AM
A while ago, I owned a Kamaka soprano and a Kanile"a concert - both "standard" models. Time to add a tenor -right? So, why not go for a KoAloha to round out the stable. In Northern California, with access to some fine ukulele stores, I was able to put a KoAloha, a Kamaka and a Kanile"a tenor side by side by side. Visually, it was clearly either the Kamaka or the Kanile'a - both perfection of workmanship. All were strung with aquila - high G. Playability and tone, it was either the KoAloha or the Kanile'a. After a lot of back and forth comparison, I now own two Kanile'as. It all depends on how things look and sound to an individual on a given day, but on that day, for my eye and ear, Kanile'a won again.

dnewton2
05-23-2010, 05:34 AM
Both are fine instruments. If you played 2 kanilea ukulele each would probably sound slightly different. It is just the nature of the materials and building instruments. To really tell what you wouldl ike you have to play the instrument. Although the East Coast does not seem to have the same selections as the West Coast there are plenty of dealers out here. check out the Ukulele stores thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16519-Ukulele-Stores-USA) for some help on finding shops.

VixDee
05-23-2010, 06:39 AM
I've tried all three and am decidedly a Kanilea fan. The tone of a Kanilea uke blows me away every time. The sustain goes and goes and goes. The setup is like no other - they play like BUTTER.

But that's just me. Everyone has to decide for themselves.

wickedwahine11
05-23-2010, 06:46 AM
I have one of each. My Kamaka is a tenor strung with low g (Fremont blacklines). My Kanile'a is a K2 tenor strung high g with Worth CT strings, and my KoAloha is a Pineapple Sunday currently strung with Worth BL strings.

It is not a straight comparison for me because the Pineapple Sunday is not like a regular tenor (it has a brighter tone and actually I find the body shape a lot less easy to play). But I have played a KoAloha tenor in the past so I will try to give you my advice based on that ukulele.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

I think the KoAloha probably has the best tone of the three. It has great volume, and their ukuleles sound amazing. If their strengths are in design, where I would consider it lacking is perhaps in the visual arena. This is just my opinion, and mine alone, but aesthetically I'm not crazy about some of their bridge styles. I don't care for the bowtie bridge currently being used on their tenors, and that has been a huge factor in keeping my from buying one. But if you can find one with the old crown bridge styling, snap it up. It will sound the best of the bunch. And their customer service is the best, hands down. All three have great families running the companies, but I think the Okamis are just that little bit nicer and have the better warranty over the Kamakas and the Souzas.

For aesthetics, I think the Kanile'as are the best. They use a unique UV finish that is simply stunning. They also have a bit of bling in a lot of their ukes. Major downside (at least for me) of the Kanile'a is the bridge pins. While I like the clean look of them, they make it a pain in the behind to change out your strings. And for someone like me, who is constantly trying out new sounds of strings, it is a major downside. Plus, as much as I love the Souzas, I think the KoAloha and the Kamaka's tone are better. But I think that might be my ukes. I hear that a lot of Kanile'as are touch and go...some sound amazing, others less so.

Finally, there is the Kamaka. For name and history, they can't be beat. There is a reason why they have been making ukuleles for almost 100 years. If you want a historical collector's piece of Hawaiian tradition, I think they are the one to choose. One downside of that many of their ukes being out there though is that they have a huge waitlist for repairs. Think about it, if Kamaka has 100 years of purchases, KoAloha 15 and Kanile'a less than 10, it makes sense there are more people in line for repairs. Another major downside is the crappy strings they put on their ukes. So when you try them side by side in a store, they will fail by comparison. I think you really need to hear a Kamaka with upgraded strings in order to really get the true tonal capabilities of their instruments.

In the end, you can't go wrong with any of them. Good luck and keep us posted on what you choose.

Waterguy
05-23-2010, 07:46 AM
I'm on the east coast too and I think you might be a little off on the popularity. The music stores have been slow on picking up on it but they seem to be beginning to. Do some searching around and you might find a uke club near enough for you to get to. If you do find one and you show up, I can just about guarantee a warm welcome and a chance to see and hear some of the instruments you are interested in. Flea Market Music has a great page that can help you do this. http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/directory/default.asp . That's where I found the people I jam with.

I personally have a Kanile'a K1T and I love it. I prefer the sound of mine to any of the Kamaka's or KoAloha's I have heard but it really is all about personal preference, they are all good instruments.

"Major downside (at least for me) of the Kanile'a is the bridge pins. While I like the clean look of them, they make it a pain in the behind to change out your strings."

I use a pair of scissors to get the bridge pins out. Open them just a little and you can put one edge on either side of the pin, then gently pry the pin out with the leverage you now have. Makes a string change a piece of cake.

ashleychantel
05-23-2010, 07:58 AM
I have a Kanilea and a Koaloha also. The Koaloha is a soprano and it's louder than the Kanilea concert, but they both have very unique tones. I love the tone on both and they're so different it's hard to say which is "better" but I would have to say my favorite is probably the Koaloha. In terms of looks and workmanship I think the Kanilea has the edge. The Koaloha is built great and has no flaws, but the Kanilea has abalone inlays on the fretboard, a great looking woodgrain, and an awesome uv gloss, while the Koaloha just has white plastic fret markers and a rather plain wood grain. They both play wonderfully and I think you really can't go wrong with either one. Oh and about the bridge pin issue, most guitar string winders (usually only $1 at music stores) have a bridge pin puller on the end and it pops them out really quickly with no problems.

wickedwahine11
05-23-2010, 08:12 AM
I use a pair of scissors to get the bridge pins out. Open them just a little and you can put one edge on either side of the pin, then gently pry the pin out with the leverage you now have. Makes a string change a piece of cake.


Oh and about the bridge pin issue, most guitar string winders (usually only $1 at music stores) have a bridge pin puller on the end and it pops them out really quickly with no problems.

No, I don't mean I have a problem getting them out. I do use a guitar string winder (as ashleychantel mentioned). My issue is that sometimes when I tighten the strings to tune them, the bridge pins have actually shot out across the room resulting in the string snapping up and slicing my hand. I have had it happen to me at least three times. Which means string changing for me has turned into an awful Jack in the Box moment where I'm terrified of tuning my A string for fear it will snap up and slice me again. I've never had that problem with any of my other ukes, only with the Kanile'a and its bridge pins. When I don't tighten a knot well enough on the Kamaka for example, the string just slides up and out, it doesn't violently snap at me.

But maybe it is just my uke/pins...

ashleychantel
05-23-2010, 08:18 AM
No, I don't mean I have a problem getting them out. I do use a guitar string winder (as ashleychantel mentioned). My issue is that sometimes when I tighten the strings to tune them, the bridge pins have actually shot out across the room resulting in the string snapping up and slicing my hand. I have had it happen to me at least three times. Which means string changing for me has turned into an awful Jack in the Box moment where I'm terrified of tuning my A string for fear it will snap up and slice me again. I've never had that problem with any of my other ukes, only with the Kanile'a and its bridge pins. When I don't tighten a knot well enough on the Kamaka for example, the string just slides up and out, it doesn't violently snap at me.

But maybe it is just my uke/pins...

ohh I see. I don't put the bridge pins in until I have them all tuned up so that could be why I haven't had any problems yet. knock on wood..

clayton56
05-23-2010, 08:24 AM
I also have both, in soprano. For me the Koaloha has a great character and is preferred for strumming. It chops along with chords like no other. The response is quick and sharp, and you have to keep a light touch or you can overplay it, and get some distorted sounds. It has more intrinsic tone, or character, than any uke I have.

The Kanilea is more musical in my opinion, it has a great lush tone, but you get more dynamic range. If you play lightly, it's quiet, if you play harder, it responds, it doesn't give out. I like it for melodies and leads, because I think it's more expressive.

The Kanilea is also easier to play, it's one of the few sopranos with 14 frets to the body so high notes are more accessible. But it is a little confusing to switch from other 12 fret ukes. The fingerboard is very slick and has a professional feel.

uke philly
05-23-2010, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the great info. What I meant was even though many shops have ukes, not many in my area have them. I can always drive an hour to NY to see some kamakas or koalohas. Does anyone have any info regarding the playability of the koaloha superconert vs the kanilea concert? I think the kamaka has been ruled out but i will still give them a look.
Thanks

experimentjon
05-23-2010, 01:14 PM
I just brought out my Kanilea, KoAloha, and Kamaka tenors to try against each other and jog my memory. Initial impressions:

Aesthetics:
1st: Kanilea- that UV gloss finish is just a winner. Also has the most elegant fretboard of all of them.
2nd: Kamaka- Nothing more, nothing less than what you would expect from a Kamaka.
3rd: KoAloha- Love them, but unless you find one with a crown style bridge, the KoAloha is probably the most plain looking one of the three.

Volume:
1st: KoAloha- Can easily be pushed to higher volumes than the other two, but can still be played at piano (but not PPP)
2nd: Kamaka- Middle of the road volume, what you would expect from a Kamaka
3rd: Kanilea- I must caveat this by saying that I do have a Fishman Matrix infinity installed inside which may be reducing the volume. I believe it was louder than the Kamaka when it had the stock Aquilas on it (versus GHS on the Kamaka), and no pickup inside. Does have lots of control at the lower volumes.

Tone: (Very subjective)
1st: KoAloha- lots of bright, responsive, penetrating tones with nice percussive tones avaliable when you want them
2nd: Kanilea- a very resonant tone, that as mentioned above, can be played very musically
3rd: Kamaka- as previously mentioned, it's that traditional tone that is very safe and you can't go wrong with, but IMO isn't that special

Out of the box setup (somewhat irrelevant since I have them all set up anyway):
1st: Kanilea- No issues, buttery smooth out of the box. Not a huge fan of Aquilas any longer, but they do provide the best stock strings, IMO--a nice touch.
2nd: Kamaka- Action was a tiny bit higher than iwould like. And for some reason, doesn't like the Worth Clear low G very much.
3rd: KoAloha- The action was a bithigh on my tenor out of the box. They can remedy that for free if you take it to the factory. I did it myself with a bit of sandpaper, and it plays just as well as the others now.

Overall Reccomendation:
1st: KoAloha- Yes, it has its flaws, and in some ways, I would describe the KoAloha as being the most "primitive" of the three tenors. But if I am reaching for one of my tenors to play, it is the KoAloha about 60% of the time. The thing just plays. And I love the volume and the tone. Now that I've set it up, it is one of my favorite ukes. I highly reccomend it if you aren't looking for that very traditional Kamaka sound.
2nd: Kanilea- It's a stunner looks-wise, and you have a lot of control all the way up and down the dynamics range, and the tone is rather rich. Love mine, and it was the first quality uke I purchased.
3rd: Kamaka- You can't go wrong with the Kamaka-- traditional looks and traditional sound--but I'd personally take a chance with one of the other two.

However, I believe that you really can't go wrong with any of the three. You'll love whichever one you choose.

I'll probably do a more complete review of the three sometime this summer if I find the time. :)

experimentjon
05-23-2010, 01:19 PM
Thanks for the great info. What I meant was even though many shops have ukes, not many in my area have them. I can always drive an hour to NY to see some kamakas or koalohas. Does anyone have any info regarding the playability of the koaloha superconert vs the kanilea concert? I think the kamaka has been ruled out but i will still give them a look.
Thanks

Can't comment on the Kanilea concert since I don't own one and can't remember the last time I've played one. No doubt it is a good instrument though.

BUT, I can give VERY high praises to the KoAloha Superconcert. The playability is excellent thanks to jumbo frets and a nice setup. Put worth browns on it, and the instrument just sings! I think it sounds even better than my Pineapple Sunday. If someone were going to buy a KoAloha for the first time, I would tell them to buy the Superconcert. I think that Brian at the factory would steer you to a full on Tenor instead of the SC (not so much an upsell attempt as an honest opinion, because the Tenor is, in fact, superior in some ways), but I just love the tone and feel of my KoAloha superconcert. That is what a uke should sound like, IMO.

clayton56
05-23-2010, 01:29 PM
I took both my Koaloha and Kanilea to the uke group session today, and ended up using the Koaloha exclusively. I tried the Kanilea briefly but with a lot of competition it takes more work to bring out.

The Koaloha rang out well in the group and the percussive sound works great for keeping time.

It depends on your playing situation, but I would say if it's for strumming and singing, the Koaloha would be my pick, if it's recording and instrumentals, the Kanilea would be get the nod.

Nuprin
05-23-2010, 04:38 PM
I have owned a Kamaka soprano and tenor, a KoAloha soprano and tenor, and a Kanilea concert. I ended up selling both the sopranos as they just didn't get much attention. It's not a great comparison but I like my Kamaka and KoAloha tenors quite a bit more than the Kanilea concert (which I recently sold). The Kanilea looked amazing and sounded nice...it just didn't do it for me like the tenors do. I'd be hard pressed to choose which I like more between the Kamaka and KoAloha (and I am fortunate enough to have found a crown bridge KoAloha) but I would buy either of those before I got another Kanilea.

heyjude
05-23-2010, 05:31 PM
Can't comment on the Kanilea concert since I don't own one and can't remember the last time I've played one. No doubt it is a good instrument though.

BUT, I can give VERY high praises to the KoAloha Superconcert. The playability is excellent thanks to jumbo frets and a nice setup. Put worth browns on it, and the instrument just sings! I think it sounds even better than my Pineapple Sunday. If someone were going to buy a KoAloha for the first time, I would tell them to buy the Superconcert. I think that Brian at the factory would steer you to a full on Tenor instead of the SC (not so much an upsell attempt as an honest opinion, because the Tenor is, in fact, superior in some ways), but I just love the tone and feel of my KoAloha superconcert. That is what a uke should sound like, IMO.

Here's my take on the KoAloha Superconcert. It's more of a Tenor Lite than a Super concert. I've got KoAloha's tenor, superconcert and concert. The concert is a banjo killer, a magnum soprano in every way. The super concert is a Tenor neck with a concert body and I feel that the big tenor bridge and heavyier neck drag it down. Tonewise it's very much like the tenor but not as loud, tenor Lite. I have the same feelings about my extended neck pineapple soprano, a concert neck with a pineapple soprano body. Not as loud as my standard pineapple. Now to stay on topic, I also have a Kamaka standard pineapple to compare to the KoAloha standard pineapple. No, I can't really compare them. It's an apples and oranges type of thing. But, if push came to shove and I could only keep three of my ten ukes one of them would be the Kamaka pineapple, one would be the KoAloha concert and the third would be the KoAloha tenor.

Jude

ceviche
05-23-2010, 07:19 PM
I say, take or make the opportunity to play before you pay. It's because, in the end, it's the instrument that captures your imagination which will win the day. If the sound of the instrument will speak to you in strange and mysterious ways, it's the one you should buy.

--Dave E.

uke philly
05-24-2010, 02:54 PM
I think, based upon many different imputs, I have finalized upon the super concert, or concert scepter, both koaloha. I won't be purchasing till late summer but all this info was very helpful.
Thanks
max

KevinV
05-24-2010, 02:59 PM
It was your thread, but I'm sold on a Ko'Aloha next myself. Damn these educated people!

experimentjon
05-24-2010, 09:30 PM
I take back my review on the KoAloha, Kanilea, and Kamaka...actually I need to revise it. I just picked up a KoAloha tenor from the factory today for my best friend. I WANT TO KEEP IT FOR MYSELF. HOLY COWWW!

It moves up the ladder in aesthetics. It looks better than the Kamaka. It also moves up in setup, above the Kamaka. I played all of their tenors on the wall, and all of them, this one included, were set up perfectly. And overall, it is the tenor that I would recommend to anyone. (I'll probably start another thread on my visit to KoAloha sometime).

Good choice going with KoAloha, Max. You won't regret it. I've got quite a few of their instruments now, and still, I am left wanting more. Their 6-string tenor and pineapple soprano really blew my mind today. I thought I was over UAS. It might be time to sell some of my other instruments and get more KoAlohas.

http://twitpic.com/1qs5qp
A nice Concert Sceptre was on the wall...along with a million other beauties there.

iDavid
05-24-2010, 09:35 PM
Again I have to say...

I have a KoAloha concert and it is far and away the best intrument I have ever owned or player

iDavid
05-24-2010, 10:39 PM
I take back my review on the KoAloha, Kanilea, and Kamaka...actually I need to revise it. I just picked up a KoAloha tenor from the factory today for my best friend. I WANT TO KEEP IT FOR MYSELF. HOLY COWWW!

It moves up the ladder in aesthetics. It looks better than the Kamaka. It also moves up in setup, above the Kamaka. I played all of their tenors on the wall, and all of them, this one included, were set up perfectly. And overall, it is the tenor that I would recommend to anyone. (I'll probably start another thread on my visit to KoAloha sometime).

Good choice going with KoAloha, Max. You won't regret it. I've got quite a few of their instruments now, and still, I am left wanting more. Their 6-string tenor and pineapple soprano really blew my mind today. I thought I was over UAS. It might be time to sell some of my other instruments and get more KoAlohas.

http://twitpic.com/1qs5qp
A nice Concert Sceptre was on the wall...along with a million other beauties there.

Were the tenor's strung with high-g or low-g, or some of each?

uke philly
05-25-2010, 01:31 AM
If anyone lives in hawaii and happens to stop by the factory would you guys mind taking a shot or two of the concert sceptre next to the concert sized for a siz comparison. thats the only thing holding me back.
THanks max

haolejohn
05-25-2010, 01:50 AM
QUOTE=uke philly;379150]If anyone lives in hawaii and happens to stop by the factory would you guys mind taking a shot or two of the concert sceptre next to the concert sized for a siz comparison. thats the only thing holding me back.
THanks max[/QUOTE]

I have a tenor sceptre and a kamaka tenor and a koaloha concert and a koaloha super soprano. The tenor sceptre is smaller than the other tenors but not by much. Here is a picture of my sceptre and koaloha concert.

http://http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=6919[

experimentjon
05-25-2010, 08:36 AM
Were the tenor's strung with high-g or low-g, or some of each?

Some of each. But I swear the one I picked up was the best sounding of all of them. It's mind boggling. I look forward to playing it after I get back from work. Excuse: breaking in the new strings for my friend.

antirealist
05-25-2010, 10:10 AM
It also moves up in setup, above the Kamaka. I played all of their tenors on the wall, and all of them, this one included, were set up perfectly.

Do all their instruments leave the factory just as well set up, I wonder? I'm waiting on a KoAloha tenor from a Montreal dealer, and I'm curious about whether it will need much setup work when it arrives.

experimentjon
05-25-2010, 01:33 PM
Do all their instruments leave the factory just as well set up, I wonder? I'm waiting on a KoAloha tenor from a Montreal dealer, and I'm curious about whether it will need much setup work when it arrives.

Well, it's the same people doing the setups, so I would assume so. Granted that sometimes, there will be human error, but that goes for every company. There may also be some changes in the setup in transportation to a colder climate. And to be honest, all 3 of the K brands mentioned here have good setups. I've never seen anything really egregious. Also, setup needs vary from person to person. Some like the strings a bit higher, others a bit lower. And in general, it is easier to lower the action than raise it, I prefer slightly higher out-ot-the-box action to buzzing low action. Sandpaper from the hardware store is your friend. :)

pithaya9
05-25-2010, 03:34 PM
I've never gotten a bad KoAloha, come to think of it I don't think there is such a thing as a bad KoAloha.

haolejohn
05-25-2010, 03:59 PM
QUOTE=uke philly;379150]If anyone lives in hawaii and happens to stop by the factory would you guys mind taking a shot or two of the concert sceptre next to the concert sized for a siz comparison. thats the only thing holding me back.
THanks max

I have a tenor sceptre and a kamaka tenor and a koaloha concert and a koaloha super soprano. The tenor sceptre is smaller than the other tenors but not by much. Here is a picture of my sceptre and koaloha concert.

http://http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=6919[[/QUOTE]

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=6918

Kaneohe til the end
05-25-2010, 09:39 PM
papa koaloha does most of the setup himself, for all of his models and the sopranos and concerts. brian or i set up our tenors.

we usually set the action kinda high, mostly because we dont know where its going and we need to accomodate for wood movement. but if a customer comes in and picks one off the wall, most of the time we lower the action on the spot (unless of course they like it high).

iDavid
05-25-2010, 09:55 PM
papa koaloha does most of the setup himself, for all of his models and the sopranos and concerts. brian or i set up our tenors.

we usually set the action kinda high, mostly because we dont know where its going and we need to accomodate for wood movement. but if a customer comes in and picks one off the wall, most of the time we lower the action on the spot (unless of course they like it high).

I am looking to get a tenor. Do you guys usually string your tenor with low-g or high-g? I am wondering what most people choose with you tenors.

Also, if I order one from you, can you lower the action before it ships?

I LOVE the concert I go from you guys!!!!!!

uke philly
05-26-2010, 03:23 PM
So I have heard of the nice booming sound of the concert sceptre but does it have a "harp"-like quality? and how does the regular concert fair. Thanks for all the info. Koaloha is very good and i cannot wait to order.

Kaneohe til the end
05-26-2010, 10:07 PM
I am looking to get a tenor. Do you guys usually string your tenor with low-g or high-g? I am wondering what most people choose with you tenors.

Also, if I order one from you, can you lower the action before it ships?

I LOVE the concert I go from you guys!!!!!!

we string our tenors unwound low g, unless a customer asks otherwise. im not sure about ordering direct because the business side isnt my job, so its best to email first (info@koaloha.com), but as far as lowering the action before it ships, thats no problem.

experimentjon
05-26-2010, 10:22 PM
we string our tenors unwound low g, unless a customer asks otherwise. im not sure about ordering direct because the business side isnt my job, so its best to email first (info@koaloha.com), but as far as lowering the action before it ships, thats no problem.

Brah, just a little longer...at least they promoted you from mop boy.

JKJK. :)

Kaneohe til the end
05-27-2010, 09:22 PM
haha, actually it was a promotion from cut/sand, cut/sand, repeat.

Kaneohe til the end
05-27-2010, 09:39 PM
So I have heard of the nice booming sound of the concert sceptre but does it have a "harp"-like quality? and how does the regular concert fair. Thanks for all the info. Koaloha is very good and i cannot wait to order.

i would describe the sceptre as having a loud, really crisp, almost twangy sound, not so much harp-like. i really like it for its bottom bevel because it sits nicely on my lap. Pops really loves that sound (or as he describes it, the "cha-lang a lang") all of his ukes will have those qualities. of course they all differ, but you can tell hes looking for that sound. i personally favor the pineapple sunday, id say it has a brighter kinda chirpy quality to it.

i just remembered this, but i think its relevant. Pops believes and as a result, i too believe that some ukes are made for one specific person and that instrument will find its way there eventually. a good example is rubbertoe got his sceptre his story (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?17786-My-Ko-Aloha-Story) and he played it like no one else can. its HIS 'ukulele.

uke philly
05-28-2010, 02:32 PM
Yeah I have heard that about the nice sound of the PS, but right now it's not in my price range, but the concert sceptre in your showroom is. Is that a large enough of a uke and body to be a concert, not a supersoprano.

Kaneohe til the end
05-28-2010, 11:14 PM
Yeah I have heard that about the nice sound of the PS, but right now it's not in my price range, but the concert sceptre in your showroom is. Is that a large enough of a uke and body to be a concert, not a supersoprano.

yes, the concert sceptre is a concert sized body and neck.

uke philly
05-30-2010, 09:10 AM
Thanks, do you have any string suggestions to balance out the sound of the concert sceptre, to add some warmth, and take out some twang. Such as d'adario or worth brown or worth clear.

fumanshu
05-30-2010, 09:30 AM
uke philly wrote:
do you have any string suggestions to balance out the sound of the concert sceptre, to add some warmth, and take out some twang. Such as d'adario or worth brown or worth clear.


I do have a concert sceptre and after changing and trying lots of strings on it, I think the Worth Brown is what make the uke sound best. The mellowness of the Brown really balance well the brighness of the Sceptre.

uke philly
06-05-2010, 11:46 AM
After checking out the kanilea ukulele's I'm pretty impressed. They were pretty cool and the sound is a nice rich buttery sound. the wood and even the finish was astounding, have not tried the koalohas but they a good competition. the kamaka concert i tried had some ugly koa and it didn't impress me. It made me think of a uke that fender would make. I want to love kamaka but the concert i tried was not impressive, I honestly am pretty confused now. It's either kanilea and koaloha, let the thread live on.

molokinirum
06-05-2010, 11:50 AM
KoAloha is very well known for their customer service and awesome warranty!!! Plus their ukes sound amazing!!!

Lori
06-05-2010, 12:24 PM
After checking out the kanilea ukulele's I'm pretty impressed. They were pretty cool and the sound is a nice rich buttery sound. the wood and even the finish was astounding, have not tried the koalohas but they a good competition. the kamaka concert i tried had some ugly koa and it didn't impress me. It made me think of a uke that fender would make. I want to love kamaka but the concert i tried was not impressive, I honestly am pretty confused now. It's either kanilea and koaloha, let the thread live on.
I think you might get richer low tones out of the Kanile'a, so if you like rich low notes, the Kanile'a might have the edge over the KoAloha, which excels in bright sparkly high end tones. If you can try out the Kanile'a, or have someone with a good ear select one for you, that would be best.
–Lori

fumanshu
06-05-2010, 12:53 PM
Lori wrote:
I think you might get richer low tones out of the Kanile'a, so if you like rich low notes, the Kanile'a might have the edge over the KoAloha, which excels in bright sparkly high end tones. If you can try out the Kanile'a, or have someone with a good ear select one for you, that would be best.

I agree with Lori, specially if you try their super tenor!!!! The sound coming from this uke is sooo rich and deep!!!! I think the body shape has to do something with that low bottom end sound!!!

Give it a try, it really worth!!!

wickedwahine11
06-05-2010, 01:18 PM
the kamaka concert i tried had some ugly koa and it didn't impress me. It made me think of a uke that fender would make. I want to love kamaka but the concert i tried was not impressive, I honestly am pretty confused now. It's either kanilea and koaloha, let the thread live on.

I know you are deciding between KoAloha and Kanile'a right now but I just wanted to address the point you made about Kamaka. I have one of each of these manufacturers (a Kamaka tenor, a Kanile'a K2 tenor, and a KoAloha pineapple sunday). Between KoAloha and Kanile'a, for me anyway, there is no contest...it would be KoAloha all the way. I find that I don't even enjoy playing my Kanile'a anymore as it pales in comparison tonally to the KoAloha or the Kamaka. So if you are down to those two, especially sight and sound unseen, I think KoAloha is the way to go.

As for the comment that you were unimpressed by the sound of the Kamaka, and thought the koa was ugly...I think that is not a reason to completely discount Kamaka -- just that particular uke. In fact, of the three ukuleles I have, the koa wood on my Kamaka is head and shoulders above the other two in terms of beauty and grain. And I firmly believe one reason a lot of people are unimpressed with Kamakas off the shelf is their strings. Listen to some Jake Shimbakuro, or some of Aldrine's older UU videos, and you can see what a Kamaka is capable of. If I could have only one of my ukes, it would be my Kamaka, not my Kanile'a or KoAloha. (That being said, if I had bought a KoAloha tenor, I would probably choose that over a Kamaka one). I still regret not getting a KoAloha tenor with a crown bridge when they were available, but I love my Kamaka dearly. There is a reason they have been in business for 100 years...they make quality ukuleles. Okay off my soapbox, I just wanted to defend them a bit.

But for you, for your decision, between Kanile'a and KoAloha, go KoAloha.

uke philly
06-06-2010, 08:58 AM
I think the most logical thing for me to do is to buy the kanilea then next summer get a koaloha, and in two years if im not satisfied will pick up a kamaka. The kanilea just had a great sound and it was perfect. In my opinion. but even the other kanileas were awsome, I tried a tenor a concert and k2 tenor. i was impressed by each, the abalone inlay was beautiful, Just a work of art. I do want to get a koaloha but it will have to wait till next year when i see a few more of the masterpieces from koaloha till i can get one. None of the masterpieces have really been exactly what I wanted but I'm sure with 4 more atleast one can be a keeper.

Nuprin
06-06-2010, 09:04 AM
I know you are deciding between KoAloha and Kanile'a right now but I just wanted to address the point you made about Kamaka. I have one of each of these manufacturers (a Kamaka tenor, a Kanile'a K2 tenor, and a KoAloha pineapple sunday). Between KoAloha and Kanile'a, for me anyway, there is no contest...it would be KoAloha all the way. I find that I don't even enjoy playing my Kanile'a anymore as it pales in comparison tonally to the KoAloha or the Kamaka. So if you are down to those two, especially sight and sound unseen, I think KoAloha is the way to go.

As for the comment that you were unimpressed by the sound of the Kamaka, and thought the koa was ugly...I think that is not a reason to completely discount Kamaka -- just that particular uke. In fact, of the three ukuleles I have, the koa wood on my Kamaka is head and shoulders above the other two in terms of beauty and grain. And I firmly believe one reason a lot of people are unimpressed with Kamakas off the shelf is their strings. Listen to some Jake Shimbakuro, or some of Aldrine's older UU videos, and you can see what a Kamaka is capable of. If I could have only one of my ukes, it would be my Kamaka, not my Kanile'a or KoAloha. (That being said, if I had bought a KoAloha tenor, I would probably choose that over a Kamaka one). I still regret not getting a KoAloha tenor with a crown bridge when they were available, but I love my Kamaka dearly. There is a reason they have been in business for 100 years...they make quality ukuleles. Okay off my soapbox, I just wanted to defend them a bit.

But for you, for your decision, between Kanile'a and KoAloha, go KoAloha.

Same here. I've had a Kanile'a concert that was nice (and beautiful) but the sound didn't do much for me. I much perfer both my KoAloha tenor and Kamaka tenor (though I'm hard pressed to choose which I like more between the two). I love the look of my KoAloha (I bought a used crown bridge) but the koa on my Kamaka definitely looks nicer.

guitharsis
06-14-2010, 02:27 AM
I also love the sound and looks of my Kamaka soprano. Before changing strings on the Kamaka, the KoAlohas were definitely my favorite. Now I would be hard pressed to choose.

mm stan
06-14-2010, 02:48 AM
Aloha Uke Philly,

If you're looking for sound quality, I'd reccomend that you go in a play each instrument. As mentioned above each instrument
is as individual as we are. Each may have their own sound, no matter if it was built by the same builder, sold by the same com-
pany or is the same model. Due to the building process and many factors of it not very often you will come across two with the
same tone. Consistancy comes with a high price tag of the best luthiers and builders. Good luck in your search for your baby.
I hope this helps you out...."Keep them strings vibrating" Uke On!!!! MM Stan....
P.S> there very good music stores on the east coast..Google them....

guitharsis
06-14-2010, 03:01 AM
Ditto to everything mm stan said. And, yes, we do have some great music stores on the east coast! My KoAlohas and Kamaka came from Hawaii though. :) Fortunate that the music store in my small town will soon be carrying Kamakas and the music store I frequent in NC now has KoAlohas and G-String! Nothing like being able to play before buying.

generem
06-14-2010, 05:04 AM
Honestly, you cant go wrong with either one. But for me, I went Koaloha when looking for my tenor last year. I played the Kanilea K2 at a local shop and fell in love with it instantly but did not buy because I wanted to also try a Koaloha. Found a Koaloha 100 miles away so I took an afternoon off work and drove to try it out. Also fell instantly in love with it but wasnt sure. I think I went back and forth twice from each store before deciding on the Koaloha. The Kanilea was better looking but the Koaloha sounded better to my ears.

Just my 2cents

Good luck. Im sure you will be happy either way

koalition
06-14-2010, 08:21 AM
I've played on Kamaka's, Koaloha's, and Kanile'a ukuleles. I initially purchased a Kanile'a concert in 2007 in da hi-gloss "UV" finish. Still going strong in da high desert of Las Vegas! (It' stays cased wit a humidifier) Just picked up a tenor in satin finish and da sound is mesmerizing! Unlike da gloss finish, you can clearly see da wood grain on da tenor. Where did i get my ukes from? Straight from inside Joe Souza's office! (Good excuse to go back to da aina!) Having made personal visits to da Kanile'a factory and witnessing da builds, a lot of aloha and mana goes into each instrument. Handcraftmanship at it's finest! And fo Joe Souza, da guy is da epitomy of da aloha spirit! Da crew at Kanile'a is top notch!

dsummers
06-14-2010, 03:56 PM
I have a KoAloha tenor sceptre with ebony back and sides, ebony fret board, sitka spruce top, and a crown bridge and I have a KoAloha super concert with a crown bridge and all I can say is WOW and WOW!!! I also have a Kamaka concert and a white label pineapple and they are great, but those KoAlohas are in a class all by themselves!

chappyware
06-22-2010, 03:08 PM
I have one of each. My Kamaka is a tenor strung with low g (Fremont blacklines). My Kanile'a is a K2 tenor strung high g with Worth CT strings, and my KoAloha is a Pineapple Sunday currently strung with Worth BL strings.

It is not a straight comparison for me because the Pineapple Sunday is not like a regular tenor (it has a brighter tone and actually I find the body shape a lot less easy to play). But I have played a KoAloha tenor in the past so I will try to give you my advice based on that ukulele.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

I think the KoAloha probably has the best tone of the three. It has great volume, and their ukuleles sound amazing. If their strengths are in design, where I would consider it lacking is perhaps in the visual arena. This is just my opinion, and mine alone, but aesthetically I'm not crazy about some of their bridge styles. I don't care for the bowtie bridge currently being used on their tenors, and that has been a huge factor in keeping my from buying one. But if you can find one with the old crown bridge styling, snap it up. It will sound the best of the bunch. And their customer service is the best, hands down. All three have great families running the companies, but I think the Okamis are just that little bit nicer and have the better warranty over the Kamakas and the Souzas.

For aesthetics, I think the Kanile'as are the best. They use a unique UV finish that is simply stunning. They also have a bit of bling in a lot of their ukes. Major downside (at least for me) of the Kanile'a is the bridge pins. While I like the clean look of them, they make it a pain in the behind to change out your strings. And for someone like me, who is constantly trying out new sounds of strings, it is a major downside. Plus, as much as I love the Souzas, I think the KoAloha and the Kamaka's tone are better. But I think that might be my ukes. I hear that a lot of Kanile'as are touch and go...some sound amazing, others less so.

Finally, there is the Kamaka. For name and history, they can't be beat. There is a reason why they have been making ukuleles for almost 100 years. If you want a historical collector's piece of Hawaiian tradition, I think they are the one to choose. One downside of that many of their ukes being out there though is that they have a huge waitlist for repairs. Think about it, if Kamaka has 100 years of purchases, KoAloha 15 and Kanile'a less than 10, it makes sense there are more people in line for repairs. Another major downside is the crappy strings they put on their ukes. So when you try them side by side in a store, they will fail by comparison. I think you really need to hear a Kamaka with upgraded strings in order to really get the true tonal capabilities of their instruments.

In the end, you can't go wrong with any of them. Good luck and keep us posted on what you choose.

Stewart Mcdonald sells a great pin puller for 1.99. Works great.

nikolo727
06-22-2010, 03:30 PM
I don't have either a kanilea or a koaloha but I have researched into both of these name brands. I tend to lean toward kanilea. The look and sound appeals much more to me than koaloha. Koalohas tend to sound twangy to me and they don't have that warm sound that i like. Buts its all up to opinion I guess ^.^

wickedwahine11
06-24-2010, 06:40 AM
Stewart Mcdonald sells a great pin puller for 1.99. Works great.

Thanks but getting the bridge pins out is not the problem...I hate tuning the A string because (on mine at least) it often snaps out, sends the bridge pin flying and the string slices my hand- I have gotten two bad cuts that way.

haole
06-24-2010, 09:50 AM
Thanks but getting the bridge pins out is not the problem...I hate tuning the A string because (on mine at least) it often snaps out, sends the bridge pin flying and the string slices my hand- I have gotten two bad cuts that way.

I have one of the strange KoAlohas with bridge pins and I've had that problem once before. But I have to say that rubbing the bridge pins with a little surfboard wax really helps them stay in there without actually sticking. It just creates a little more grip. Plus it usually smells good. ;)

RedmondDad
09-19-2011, 09:55 PM
No, I don't mean I have a problem getting them out. I do use a guitar string winder (as ashleychantel mentioned). My issue is that sometimes when I tighten the strings to tune them, the bridge pins have actually shot out across the room resulting in the string snapping up and slicing my hand. I have had it happen to me at least three times. Which means string changing for me has turned into an awful Jack in the Box moment where I'm terrified of tuning my A string for fear it will snap up and slice me again. I've never had that problem with any of my other ukes, only with the Kanile'a and its bridge pins. When I don't tighten a knot well enough on the Kamaka for example, the string just slides up and out, it doesn't violently snap at me.

But maybe it is just my uke/pins...

Is your Kanile'a very old? Perhaps the bridge plate is worn out (http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com/repair/acoustic-guitar/bridge-pin.php)?

sbpark
09-20-2011, 06:39 AM
i really love my Koaloha concert. it continues to surprise me, especially when i take it out and play it against other ukuleles out there. i feel like, as far as tone the Koaloha just sounds amazing. To my ears it has the most lush, complex and pleasing sound. Whenever i played it up against a Kamaka or Kanilea they both just sound dull and not as present, but this could also be due to the fact that they Kamaka and Kanilea have stock strongs, and from what i have read most peple do not like the stock Kamaka strings and put on Worth clears, which is what my Koaloha has on it. As far as fit and finish the Kamaka and Kanilea win head and shoulders above the Koaloha. No contest here, but that doesn't mean the Koaloha isnt bilt well, because it absolutely is, but i feel like it's a little more 'rough' when compared to the other two. I actually prefer the finish, feel and workmanship of the Koaloha though because in the guitar world i am a telecaster guy, and feel like the Koaloha is sort of the tele of the uke world; no flash, no bells and whistles, bare bones but when you hear it it will knock your socks off. nothing else sounds like it and like the tele, as simple as it is, it really is all you will ever need and less is definitely more.

when i initially bought my Koaloha concert i was a bit surprised at the poor finish of the nut and the set up was not great. the original owner said this is exactly how he had bought it, directly from the Koaloha factory when he was there 2 years ago and never did anything to it. The nut was a bit tall, with the grooves cut a bit deep and the extra was never filed down or finished, but after i had it set up it plays like butter.

also another thing to consider is Koalaha probably has the absolute best customer service out of all three hands down. thats not to say that Kamaka and Kanilea have poor customer service, but from what i have read on these forums Koaloha always gets the highest marks as far as warranty handling issuses (even if the current owner is not the original owner).

just my 2 cents...

wickedwahine11
09-20-2011, 08:47 AM
Is your Kanile'a very old? Perhaps the bridge plate is worn out (http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com/repair/acoustic-guitar/bridge-pin.php)?

Nope, I bought it new in 2008.

hapuna
09-20-2011, 10:25 AM
It will always come down to your ear. For some reason I like the Kanile'a sound a lot. I would not recommend buying a top end ukulele such as you seek without being able to touch it and play it. Kanile'a does show a dealer, Bernunzio Uptown Music in Rochester NY and one in MA. See what they have.

ksiegel
09-20-2011, 02:12 PM
i really love my Koaloha concert. it continues to surprise me, especially when i take it out and play it against other ukuleles out there. i feel like, as far as tone the Koaloha just sounds amazing. To my ears it has the most lush, complex and pleasing sound. Whenever i played it up against a Kamaka or Kanilea they both just sound dull and not as present, but this could also be due to the fact that they Kamaka and Kanilea have stock strongs, and from what i have read most peple do not like the stock Kamaka strings and put on Worth clears, which is what my Koaloha has on it.

My KoAloha Sceptre came with Worth Clears, AND a spare set - which have the KoAloha logo on the label. So they are the Stock Strings - at least, as of this summer.

And oh, man is it LUSH! I did compare it with Kamaka and Kanilea ukuleles at Ukulele Source, and kept going back to the Sceptre. (Of course, I liked - and my wife, and innocent bystander agreed - the Sceptre more than the Pineapple Sunday... my Number Two choice that day.

It simply proves that you really should play the instrument before you buy it, if at all possible.

And calling KoAloha with a question, and being put directly through to Brian, the shop manager, for the answer was a gas!

... -Kurt

CoLmes
09-20-2011, 03:12 PM
If you are ever in allentown, or go up to that ukefest this saturday you can try my kanile'a

sbpark
09-20-2011, 03:15 PM
My KoAloha Sceptre came with Worth Clears, AND a spare set - which have the KoAloha logo on the label. So they are the Stock Strings - at least, as of this summer.

And oh, man is it LUSH! I did compare it with Kamaka and Kanilea ukuleles at Ukulele Source, and kept going back to the Sceptre. (Of course, I liked - and my wife, and innocent bystander agreed - the Sceptre more than the Pineapple Sunday... my Number Two choice that day.

It simply proves that you really should play the instrument before you buy it, if at all possible.

And calling KoAloha with a question, and being put directly through to Brian, the shop manager, for the answer was a gas!

... -Kurt

stock strings on Koaloha are Worth Clears. The ones you received with the Koaloha label are Worth Clears as well.

Gillian
09-20-2011, 04:10 PM
Unless things have changed at KoAloha since March when I had my factory tour, I don't think the stock strings are Worth, based on what Brian told me. I wanted to buy a set of their stock strings, but was told they didn'tt sell them. He did give me one of their unwound low-G strings and was told it was "Japanese fishing line", but didn't divulge the make.

Getting back to the OP. I also have a Kanile'a concert deluxe. Visually, the Kanile'a outdoes the KoAloha, IMO. The UV gloss, the curl and figuring of the wood, the highly coloured abalone fretboard dots...

Sound-wise, they are both so different I can't elevate one over the other. TheKoAloha is crisper and more "traditional" sounding. Perfect for old-time, Tin Pan Alley tunes. The Kanile'a is not as loud, but is richer and mellow (for koa), especially with KoAloha's low-G on it.

iDavid
09-20-2011, 04:36 PM
KoAloha and Kanilea are my favorite uke. I go to the KoAloha more often and think it has an almost electric sound to it. It also has a much thinner neck which I love. I recent got a KoAloha soprano and man is that one sweet. I would not hesitat in getting either one.

If I could only have one uke, it would be the KoAloha concert, without any hesitation. I have the Pikake and it is getting shinny spot on it and the freboard is darking from play. Love that uke!

foxfair
09-20-2011, 05:26 PM
Nope, I bought it new in 2008.
I bought my Kanile'a concert this year and unfortunately it has the same problem like you. So far I only changed the string set once, and got a little cut from A string.... I tied two knots on the new A string(which is Worth Clear) but it still escaped from the pin. Next time I will use a bandaid to hold the string, and hope it won't hurt my finger again.

NormP
02-08-2014, 09:39 AM
You can also take the brass end from a metal guitar string and tie the end of the uke string around it. It works perfectly. That's what I do with my Kanilea tenor. The low-C breaks from time to time and I have to replace it. But wrapping around the iittle brass piece works perfectly.

stringy
02-08-2014, 10:14 AM
Another vote for KoAloha.

I found KoAloha (and my Kamaka) to be superior in sound, resonation, and playability hands down! No contest!
I also dislike bridge pins but that is not the major issue for me.

iDavid
02-08-2014, 12:29 PM
Kanilea was a more woody sound, at least on the Satin models. They sound much better with Worth strings, I just don't love the wider fretboard. It make a good low-g folky strummer.

Kamanaaloha
02-11-2014, 10:42 AM
In My Humble Opinion, It depends on the Instrument. But sight unseen and sound unheard...Kamaka>[Kanilea=KoAloha]...I really like the long necks of the Kamakas...and they are more balanced then the KoAloha long necks...which seem heavy. Eyecandy for the price: Kanilea>Kamaka>KoAloha...KoAlohas are typically cheaper and the wood has less figuring and Kamakas have a premium. Cheapest price: KoAloha>Kanilea>Kamaka. Brightness<caveat it really depends...test drive before you buy>: KoAloha>[Kamaka=Kanilea] KoAloha are typically the brightest...and the others really depend on the instrument but Kamakas are very consistent imho...and Kanileas vary more...I bought mine K1TP and it was much brighter than a similar model with different wood...this is really subjective and depends on the future owner's ear.

My favorite instrument(s) ...Kamaka HF-2L+ ... followed by HF-3L...then HF-2L...then Kanilea K1-TP...then KoAloha...which is my low G rig...

fretie
02-25-2014, 04:34 PM
I did some homework, bought a Koaloha longneck pineapple having never had a chance to play it and was totally awestruck when I got it! Love the sound! Love the look! I can totally feel the vib of the hands that built the uke.

Had to put in my 2 cents worth even though I can't offer a comparison to other K brands.

stevepetergal
02-25-2014, 06:04 PM
I agree with experimentaljon. My first Kanilea was a lemon. The intonation was unacceptable and it was very quiet. I bought another and though the intonation was better, it too was dull. I've since listened to comparison videos and come to the conclusion that, although the sound is pleasant, Kanileas are kinda' dead. They are beautiful to look at, though. My Koaloha has never disappointed me in any way. The finish isn't as beautiful as Kanilea but I can make it sound dark or bright, loud or soft. Couldn't do that with the Kanileas. I could beat the heck out of them and get very little sound. I've never owned a Kamaka, but have played a couple dozen. They're nice, but don't look nearly as good as the Kanileas and don't have the tonal capabilities of Koaloha.
IMO